Shuffle the deck. Breathe. Pick a card and place it face up. Look at it. Let the name of it sit on your tongue. Pick another card and do the same thing. Then another. Think. Keep breathing.
To me, reading Tarot Cards is similar to thinking out loud in a therapy session. While I’m not suggesting replacing mental health treatments with a deck of cards (always seek help when you need it!), this ancient practice can be help you contemplate and try to understand your circumstances.
Some of you may be skeptical reading this. How could a deck of cards help with self-care? Spiritual rituals like Tarot aren’t exactly scientific, so why continue to keep this tradition alive?
Personally, I like Tarot Cards because the images encourage self-reflection. To me, it isn’t a spiritual thing as much as it is a analyzation exercise. Exploring the meaning of the cards can help you gain a new perspective on your life.
Tarot readings have been a part of my regular self-care routine since 2017. I usually do a three-card spread every morning as a way to look at the day ahead, but I’ve also done readings at random times of day using alternate layout spreads. There are multiple ways to look at three-card spreads, but I typically do past, present, future or body, mind, spirit.
Three-card spreads are a great starting point compared to complicated ten-card spreads, as you’ll only have three images to contemplate. It’s best to start simple. Shuffle the deck however you please and lay out three cards.
I spend a lot of time looking at the cards. Doing so feels a bit like meditation if you’re really focused. Try to remember to breathe as you take in each image.
You can easily sense the tone of each card without knowing the classical background of the deck. The numerous symbols, colors, shapes, numbers, and illustrations assemble to create distinct vibes. What does this card make me feel?
After analyzing the cards on their own, try to examine the placement of the cards and the connections between the cards. Why is this card in this specific spot? Are there any running themes in the cards?
In the spread above, I particularly noticed storms clouds and grey skies in both the Three of Swords and Tower cards. Grey gives off uncertain vibes, so I understood the cards to mean I would be in a shaky, odd place today, tomorrow, and possibly beyond that. The Three of Swords card felt appropriate in the present slot as well, as the aftermath of my breakup continues. Ah, the pain!
You may be wondering if I felt upset or discouraged by this spread. A heart is literally being stabbed by swords and the Tower card looks pretty dangerous. In my opinion, not one of the 78 cards are negative, even the Death card, because nothing in life is strictly good or bad. What really matters is perspective.
The Three of Swords card is about pain, which is generally perceived to be a negative thing. But pain, including the pain of my break-up, will help me grow. I wouldn’t be fully living if I never experienced pain.
I also try not to take the cards too seriously or give the cards too much power. I subscribe to a che sera, sera attitude in life. In Tarot terms, no card placements are permanent and you’ll get different cards all the time. In reality, tarot card are just thick pieces of paper and they only have to occupy as much brain space as I allow them to.
Where do you start if you want to try out Tarot? I suggest having a reading done by an experienced reader if you’ve never done so before. Ask a friend or family member for suggestions of readers they have gone to in the past. Having your cards read for the first time can be a really cool experience!
If you’ve had readings in the past, then I suggest diving in by buying a deck to call your own. Here are a few decks to check out:
- The Rider Tarot Deck – my first deck!
- Ethereal Visions: Illuminated Tarot Deck
- Tarot of Pagan Cats Mini Deck
- Kawaii Tarot: A 78-Card Deck of Magic and Cute
Start by simply looking at each card in your deck and writing down your initial reactions before moving on to spreads. Take your time and be patient with yourself. You’ll gain experience and speed as you continue to read your cards. Eventually, you may feel comfortable enough to do readings for other people!
Have an opinion on Tarot Cards? Share your thoughts in the comments below. We’ll have more posts on Tarot in the future, so stay tuned!